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Jonny Bairstow’s 60-run blitz gave England a much-needed win in the second Twenty20 International in Dubai.
Bairstow, 22, playing in only his fifth Twenty20 International, demolished the Pakistan bowling attack to get to his maiden half century and more importantly, level the series for England.
England Captain, Stuart Broad, was extremely impressed with Bairstow’s inning. “The way Jonny batted was huge, he showed experience beyond his years to adapt to conditions really well. The way he struck the ball was what we’ve seen in the nets. He’s got a very exciting international future ahead of him” he said.
England, who batted first, just could not get out the starting blocks, as three of their key batsmen were back in the pavilion with just 49 runs on the board. However, Bairstow and wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter’s 31 runs, lifted England to an average total of 150.
None of the Pakistan bowlers bowled very well, but, Umar Gul had two wickets and four other bowlers picked up a wicket each.
Pakistan, in reply to their target of 151, couldn’t have started any worse, as regular strikes from the England bowlers saw them six wickets down with only 74 runs on the board. Shahid Afridi and Hammad Azam tried to put together a little partnership in an attempt to give Pakistan the edge, but, it was not to be.
Afridi made 25 quick runs and Azam, who is seen as a future star of Pakistan cricket, cracked 21 runs from 15 deliveries.
England’s Steven Finn took three wickets, as the Pakistan batsmen continue to have no answer to his bowling. Finn was well supported by Captain Broad and Graeme Swann, who both chipped in with two wickets each.
Captain Broad, who was delighted with the victory, knows how important the final match is. “Monday is a massive match for us, we can put ourselves in a World Cup-type situation because we want to go home with the trophy” he said.
Pakistan Captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, who was shocked by the poor performance, said: “I think 151 was a gettable target because the wicket had nothing for the bowlers, but we had a very poor start and then lost wickets regularly and you don’t win matches after that.”
With the series tied at 1-1, Pakistan and England will bring all they have when the two sides battle it out on the 27th of February at Abu Dhabi.